White Corn Product Development

 

Background information on white corn

 

  • Agronomics – Desired agronomic performance requirements for white corn are the same as those for yellow corn with yield potential being primary. Other important agronomic characteristics include high ratings for standability, disease tolerance, greensnap resistance, harvestability, and ear protection.  Ample husk coverage can help protect food grade grain (ears) from insect and/or environmental damage.  Data from yield trials across locations and years are collected to determine product performance under differing environmental conditions.  Products with the highest yields and the best agronomics and stability are selected to advance within the developmental pipeline until a new product is identified. 
  • Grain quality – Several grain attributes including grain hardness, kernel size, shape, and color are measured to help determine acceptable food grade grain quality.      
    • Test weight is a function of kernel hardness and size.  The harder the kernel or the smaller the kernel the higher the test weight.  Since food grade corn processors have a desired kernel size it is important to measure more than just the test weight to determine kernel hardness.  Kernel hardness is also a factor of the crown size (starch cap), deepness of dent, and the amount of horneous endosperm. There are two types of endosperm within a corn kernel – horneous and floury (Figure 1).  The ratio of these two endosperm types determines kernel hardness.  A greater percentage of horneous endosperm results in harder grain, which is favorable compared to a higher percentage of floury endosperm, which causes a softer grain.  
    • Kernel shape can help reduce mechanical damage to the kernels as they pass through the combine and other harvest/storage equipment. Kernels with rounded crown corners have less potential for damage. 
    • A good white kernel color is desired.  However, the development of white corn products with good color is more difficult than with yellow corn products.  There are several modifying genes associated with color that cause varying degrees of lemony color in white corn as seen in Figure 2.    
  • Processor approval - Each food corn processor has acceptance criteria governed by the end use of the consumer product being produced.   A grain sample of each newly developed and identified white corn product is given to the processor for evaluation within their system.  Once the new white corn product passes their criteria requirements, it can become an approved white corn product for commercial production. 
  • This study was conducted to determine the performance of three DEKALB® brand commercially released white corn products compared to one (2018) and three (2019) experimental white corn products.

 

Research Site Details

       
Location Gothenburg, NE Planting Date 5/5/18
5/15/19
Soil Type Hord silt loam Harvest Date 11/19/18
11/12/19
Previous Crop Soybean Potential Yield (bu/acre) 260
Tillage Type Strip tillage Seeding Rate (seeds/acre) 34K
  • Six white corn products were evaluated in 2019; four of them were also evaluated in 2018.
  • The studies in each year were a randomized complete block with three replications.
  • Weeds were controlled uniformly across the study and no insecticide was applied in-crop.
  • Corn was fully irrigated to meet the water needs of the crop in each year.

 

Understanding the Results

 

  • Realized average yields of the white corn products tested were very good in 2019 and 2018 (Table 1).
  • DKC62-00RIB brand blend had the highest two-year average yield (second highest in 2019) but had the lowest average test weight in both years (Table 1).
  • For the 2019 season, Experimental C had the highest average yield and the lowest average harvest moisture content along with a very good average test weight (Table 2).  
  • The average test weights ranged from 62 to 65 lb/bu among the entries.  These values are very good for food grade corn (Tables 1 and 2).

Key Learnings

 

  • The white corn products tested in this study had very good yield potential.
  • White corn is an important product for food grade corn farmers in the area.
  • Check with your sales team member to determine the best white corn product for your farm. 

 

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